So the hail storm only got worst as we went down so we tried to find shelter under a rock. We includes me, Kristen, the guide, and the horse. I had an umbrella so it made things somewhat better but all I could think about was how was this about to end? Would we have to wait another three hours to try to go down again? Would we end up staying the night on the mountain? The hail seemed never-ending, but after another hour or so it stopped and we started our way back down. At this point Kristen and I are soaked and just want to get the hell off this mountain but on the way down we run into another Aussie woman at a small tea shop. Of course Kristen could not resist a chat w/ her home girl. This is when it gets interesting.
Were sitting around talking and Kristen poses the question what’s your story to the Aussie woman, let’s call her Fran. Kristen believed that everyone in India had a story. Kristen’s story was that she was a relationship counselor from Australia who was dealing with a failing marriage. Two years ago she was in a terrible car accident and was told that she was paralyzed. After intense therapy and clearly God she managed to get the strength to travel. So she told her husband she was taking some time for herself and decided to spend six months between Nepal and India. This story wasn’t that new for me. I had met two other women who also fled to India because of failed marriages. The only thing that confused me about all this was why they picked India? I think they all wanted a spiritual awakening…I mean they were all there to see the Dalai Lama. I didn’t really feel like I had a story but after opening up a little to Kristen she assured me that I was also heartbroken and seeking love from a man and developing strength within myself. I didn’t know how to take that but since she said she was a relationship counselor I figured some of it had to be true. Our stories however were nothing compared to Fran’s.
Fran told us that her and her partner were in India celebrating 10 years. Now originally when she said partner I didn’t even assume she meant a woman. She tells us how she and her husband had also been having hard times. (At this point I’m wondering who is having a successful marriage) They had an on and off marriage and had been separated for some time. Then one day he comes to her and says that he has to be honest with her….he proceeds to tell her that he believes he was born in a man’s body and is indeed a woman and that this is the reason why they have been having so many problems. (That awkward moment when you just smile and say wow) Fran takes this information and decides that he’s right. Since then they have been to Thailand to have the full operation and her husband is now Jane and they were in Dharamsala to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. Kristen blurts out “so would you consider yourself homosexual now?” Fran says “I guess so; this all just proved to me that it was about the person he was within.” I didn’t know what to say but that she was a strong woman to truly accept this new life and I was proud of myself because I really wasn’t judging her, I was truly listening to her perspective and thinking “damn girl…you ride or die for real ” in my head the whole time.
Kristen was right. Everyone I met in Dharamsala had a story. There were people who were working with Tibetan refugees, hippies who were just enjoying the scenery, backpackers searching for their purpose in life, and monks seeking inner peace. I spent another two days taking a Tibetan cooking class, learning about the Free Tibet movement, shopping for elephants, getting a Tibetan massage,trying to go paragliding but never being successful, and going to the Dalai Lama’s teaching.
My trip to the Himalaya’s was everything I needed and since it’s been about two months since then I could use it again. I am so proud of myself for doing this all by myself. I took creepy Indian buses throughout the night for a total of 30 hours, climbed a mountain, and scored tickets to see the Dalai Lama…all by myself. I always knew I was a strong person but this trip reiterated the strength I have within myself to continuously challenge myself to become a better person.